Monday, June 22, 2009

Too Late

I've been avoiding my blog because I knew I would feel compelled to write about a tragedy that occurred in our family. My young brother-in-law was fatally shot following a robbery in a park in San Bernardino last week.

It's a worn cliche you hear after a death: "I wish I had gotten to know him better." Well it's true. We had met Michael, my husband's half-brother, just three times, literally as he grew up: first as a small boy, then as a pre-teen, then two years ago at age 20. Each time he looked very different from the previous time, but yet each time it was obvious, during our brief meetings, that he was a likeable young man.

I had been looking forward to having him visit Kauai in August, just 8 weeks away. This was his birthplace, but he grew up in California. He was an aspiring musician and I imagined he'd come over to our house and he'd sit politely with Jordan at her computer as she showed her young Uncle her favorite music on youTube, and he would've probably shown her his favorites too. We'd finally get to talk to him for longer than a few minutes and as an adult.

It won't happen now.

If there's anything most young people don't realize, it's the fact that the good things in life take time to attain, while the bad takes just a minute. Your life can change in seconds by making the wrong choice, by saying the wrong thing, being careless or even reckless "just once." Most young people (including myself until my 30's) are too fresh from Fantasyland to understand that unhappy endings can and do happen frequently and in the blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, even adults are often ignorant of another fact of life: You can't go back. I wish now that we had made more effort to know Michael better. I never thought of looking for his mySpace page until it was too late. Now it's too late to comment on his passionate and sensitive writing. It's too late to learn now about what he was thinking, too late to offer comfort. Too late to listen to his music or appreciate his artwork. Oh, he was so much more than "a likeable young man."

If there's anyone you "intend" to get to know better "one of these days," I strongly suggest you start now.

Meanwhile on the news last night, they reported on a "shooting sports fair" held on Father's Day at Koko Head, noting that gun sales have skyrocketed in Hawaii (and all over the U.S.). What got me is that the news piece was a "light" one delivered as though they were reporting on a father-son fishing tournament, praising "shooting sports" as a great "father-son" activity.

I quote Dana Carvey as the Church Lady: "Isn't that special!"

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